During an interview with CNBC Africa, Wainaina a director at International Centre for Policy and Conflict said, “This country does not have a well organised national security strategy. We [Kenya] operate on ad hoc, we engage in firefighting day to day, an event occurs you [the government] responds to it and does not place firm strategies that addresses the short term and long term.”
From the US embassy bombing in 1998 that killed over 200 people, to the Westgate Mall siege last year that left over 60 dead, Kenya has been a target of terror attacks from Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab. The latest attack occurred on 22 November whereby the Shabaab killed 28 non-Muslims in the Northern part of the country. The attack is the deadliest carried out by the militant group after they carried out a spate of attacks more than four months ago in a town in the coastal area leaving over 100 dead.
During the country’s budgetary address in June Kenya’s Treasury allocated over 170 billion Kenyan shillings towards the security docket in order to enhance capacity of security personnel to deal with the rising threat of terrorism and insecurity through proper training, latest technology and equipment to fight crime.
However, Wainaina says that the money was not disbursed well and goes into basic things and very little into intelligence. “Whenever there is an alert our intelligence do not know how to react and this is a big issue we [Kenya] must tackle.”
Other than tackling corruption which has often ensued to militants getting into the country through porous borders, Wainaina says that tighter accountability measures are to be installed for the country’s security organs.
“We need to fast track the process of enacting the national security strategy which needs to be in place. Also we need a proper law enforcement and crime prevention policy in place.”
Meanwhile, during the launch of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “I urge all of us to play our part in ensuring the Kenya’s security. As the Government allocates more resources to the security sector, Kenyans need to be more vigilant to curb cases of insecurity. Unless we change our mindset and take security matters as a personal responsibility, we will not succeed in solving the problem of insecurity because no matter how many police officers we deploy, they will not be everywhere to watch over us.”